WINNIPEG -- Thursday is New Year’s Eve, which means people all over the world are marking the end of a year that was taken over by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

However, due to public health restrictions, Manitobans will not be heading to any large celebrations or gatherings to celebrate, but there are still many ways to mark the new year in a pandemic-safe way.


For those who will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with their young kids, but don’t want them to stay up too late, they can do midday countdown.

“We can have all the fun things going on and anything you were going to do at night, you’re going to do during the day,” said Carmen Kaethler from Macaroni Kid Winnipeg.

She noted another trick is for parents to turn on the Netflix countdown at whatever time they want midnight to be for their kids.

“That’s something we do in our house,” Kaethler said.

“Around 9 p.m. we turn it on and the ball drops and we say, ‘Bed time!’”

For those looking for at-home activities for their kids, Kaethler suggests:

  • Sticking 12 balloons to a hula hoop or wall and popping them as you do your countdown
  • Making your own ball drop;
  • Taking brown paper bags and drawing clocks with different times on each of the bags. Then parents put a treat, game or message in each of the bags, which they can give to their kids when the clock strikes the specific time written on the bag; and
  • Making festive costumes out of pipe cleaners.

“This year obviously we’re not going out to any big celebrations, so we’re looking for things to do at home,” she said.


Those who are planning a quiet night at home for New Year’s Eve can opt for a game night as a fun option.

“Obviously, we’re not going to be allowed at any big parties today, most people will probably just spend the evening with people from their households, so depending how many people you’re with, I (have) a couple of different ideas,” said Olaf Pyttlik from Across the Board Café.

For those spending the night with three or more people, Pyttlik suggests games called ‘Just One,’ ‘Concept’ and ‘Headbands.’

He noted that Headbands is an easy game for people to play virtually or over Zoom.


Couples looking to have a New Year’s Eve date night can bring the fun of going out into their homes.

“This year to make it a little fun, why not bring a bar crawl to your house?” said Megan Parsons from Date Night Delivered.

Parsons suggested people set up different themed stations, such as a trivia or gaming bar pub, in different areas of their homes and transition to a new station each hour.

She added that couples can also create bucket lists, reflect on the past year or do some at-home karaoke. 

- With files from CTV’s Hugh Headley